The Furies: A Thriller by Mark Alpert

The Furies: A Thriller - Mark Alpert

The Furies are a family who live on the very edges of society.  After centuries of being hunted and massacred as witches, they have pulled away and try to live peaceably. When John first meets Ariel, he is over come by her beauty.  What he doesn't know is this meeting will put him right into the middle of the Fury civil war. He finds himself almost in a world outside of time, where people use an older version of English and even dress in fashions made popular during the 1600's.  Will his love of Ariel  give him the courage to find a way to thrive in Fury society?  Now that the FBI are looking for John, in connection with a drug deal and terrorist acts, he can never go back to the life he had.

In many ways The Furies has elements of a typical discrimination flip.  The Fury society is matriarchal because the women are extremely long lived, while the men only live the normal human span. We are even told of a mother who tells her son that she simply cannot invest in him because of his short life.  All of the elders are women and the men have no seat on the high council, or right to vote on a course of action for their family. The difference in longevity leads to a gender imbalance causing the women greatly outnumber men. The men are used for physical strength to work the farm.  Fury men are also infertile, which means the women must leave the family compound to be able to breed.  The women meet paramours in the outside world and leave the moment they discover they are pregnant.  Women are almost revered and fear investing in men because of their short lifespans.  The men feel disgruntled because of the lack of power they possess and covet the women's long lives. This comes to head when a formula is discovered which could potentially make the Fury men as long lived as the women, but the council wants to proceed with caution given the difficulty processing the anti aging formula and the concern about potential side effects. In the end, Alpert casts the men as villains because they break their family's code of silence, kill several women and even involve the FBI in their mission to gain their supposed equality. 

I don't believe that the FBI would be so gullible as to simply follow along with the directions of Basil. I don't believe that they would invest such huge resources on any informant without any real investigation. I further find the constant involvement in major historical events by this family to implausible and times wondered if I were reading a sci-fi version of Forest Gump. 

The Furies is extremely action packed, including descriptions of weapons.  John finds himself on the run with no idea of who is actually chasing him or why and yet he is steadfast about protecting Ariel and staying by her side.  This makes absolutely no sense to me because there is nothing that really binds these two together. Alpert is forced to rely on insta-love to make his story work.  John's devotion continues though he learns that Ariel lied to him from the moment she met him and only interacted with him to use him as a sperm donation. He isn't even really a person, just an entity capable of making her pregnant.  For his part, John justifies his instant devotion of Ariel because he is divorced, his child is dead and he has no friends or family to speak of. Ariel continually justifies her ongoing usage of John by claiming to want to protect him and fear that the burning times will return Though it is genuine to believe that their secret of longevity would cause them to be imprisoned and experimented on by the government, it does not justify what she does to John and it reads as a denial of privilege and power.

Though a gender imbalance exists, Ariel has White privilege and she most certainly has class privilege where John is concerned  It is telling that the two men whom Ariel chooses to mate with are both men of colour. That they instantly fall in love with her speaks of covetous nature of men of colour for White women.

John is an African-American man and a former drug dealer who turned his life around.  Heaven forbid he be some sort of professional man.  There is very little discussion about the racism that he faces as a man of color in a White supremacist world; however, Alpert does include the following false equivalency.